This afternoon, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced committee and leadership assignments. Here’s how it’s all shaking out for our local Council members.
District 1’s Margaret Chin will be the chairperson of the aging committee and will serve as a member of the education, transportation, recovery & resiliency, youth services and the rules, privileges & elections committees. Meanwhile District 2 Council member Rosie Mendez will serve on the health, housing & buildings, land use, public housing, recovery & resiliency and landmarks committees. Mendez was previously chair of the public housing panel. The chairmanship now goes to newly elected Council member Ritchie Torres of the Bronx, who defied his borough’s political machine in order to support Mark-Viverito’s campaign for speaker. Mendez supported Mark-Viverito’s opponent for the speaker post, Dan Gardodnick.
Margaret Chin was one of 30 Council members who announced their early support for Mark-Viverito and she is a member of the Progressive Caucus, which has seen its influence grow substantially following this past November’s election. In a recent public appearance, Chin said she had requested the chairmanship of the transportation committee. That job went to Upper Manhattan Council member Ydanis Rodriguez. In a statement released a few moments ago, Chin said:
I am both humbled and proud to serve on committees that will make solid, meaningful change in the day-to-day in the lives of New Yorkers. We as a unified City Council have a historic opportunity to make a positive difference, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to create and advocate for policies that will continue to push our city toward a progressive future. I am especially honored to serve as Chair of the Committee on Aging, and I am committed to ensuring that our seniors have the resources, support, and dignity they deserve. We must build a city where all of us can age in place, without the worry that we will be displaced by increasing rent or cuts to essential services. Now, let’s get to work.
Chin’s district covers most of the area below East Houston, including the Lower East Side and Chinatown, as well as Soho, Tribeca and the Financial District. Mendez represents the area above Houston Street, going up the East Side.
UPDATED 5:46 p.m. Capital has more on the political jockeying that left Mendez out in the cold:
“I’m disappointed I don’t get to chair something, but that’s life, we’re adults,” said Mendez, who supported Garodnick, but was seen as relatively neutral in the speaker’s race. A source familiar with the proceedings said Mendez was a victim of her late-breaking support, and the lack of a strong county organization in Manhattan. “Counties lobbied for their people; caucus lobbies for their people; a handful of independents came on board before Brooklyn County did, so Melissa Mark-Viverito looked out for them,” the source said. “Rosie was an independent who didn’t join team MMV and didn’t have a county.”
UPDATED 1/23: Some additional context regarding Council member Chin’s committee preferences and assignments. In a meeting with a group of constituents on the Lower East Side earlier this month, Chin was asked a number of questions about transportation issues, including the long-delayed escalator rehabilitation project at the East Broadway station and infrequent MTA bus service on some routes. In answering these questions, Chin made note of her interest in chairing the transportation committee. Yesterday, staff members in the Council member’s office noted that Chin had requested other committees, as well, including the Committee on Aging. They indicated that she is eager to take on the chairmanship of the aging panel and is in no way disappointed with her assignment.